Early Video Game Movies

In the 1980s, the idea of a video game being adapted into a motion picture for the silver screen was predominantly viewed as inadvisable. Still, attempts were made, and here they are:


This was not only one of the first video game movies, but one of the first straight-to-video movies. Unfortunately, this pioneering film is really, really bad. The less said about this cinematic abomination, the better.


Like PAC-MAN before it, the Donkey Kong franchise had lost its luster for gamers by the time this adaptation was greenlit by New Line Cinema. It lost a ton of money during its initial two-week theatrical run, but found new life as a cult classic during the latter half of the ‘90s and broke even.


This one had some star power behind it, and a decent effects budget, but neither of those two factors could withstand the scrutiny of a full-scale critical nuclear assault, or rescue it from a fiery death at the box office.

DIG DUG (1986)

Believe me, the movie poster looks nothing like the movie itself, in which the monsters are people wearing garbage bags, and the hero is a little person in a space suit who clubs them with a bicycle pump and steals their carrots. Terrible.


The OG of theatrical video game films is still a fun watch, despite its poor production values and English language overdubs.


This Roger Cormanproduced straight-to-video Top Gun knockoff was only labeled as After Burner in certain markets. It was never intended to be an adaptation of the game and was originally titled Cool Your Jets. When Vestron Video purchased the movie rights to the game, they saw an opportunity to capitalize on an existing property and changed the name.


  1. It looked almost exactly like that image you shared, except I did it in black and grey tone, no color. I’ll see if I can find a photo of it. When I was married, my husband hated it (said it wasn’t a “girly” tattoo), so he paid to have it covered up with something else.

  2. Okay. That is crazy. I got it out of a tattoo magazine. I never knew where it came from but then I was like, oh! maybe the artist was a DigDug fan hahahah. What are the chances?! Super crazy.

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